BOSTON — The rave reviews continue to pour in for the White Sox farm system, which is the now top-rated minor league system in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com.
MLB Pipeline and Baseball America each released their latest organizational rankings on Thursday with the former anointing the White Sox as the top system among baseball’s 30 teams. The White Sox also received the No. 2 farm system ranking from Baseball America behind the Atlanta Braves.
A series of never-ending trades in July, five in all involving seven major leaguers, depleted the 25-man roster, but also brought back an incredible amount of minor league talent to push the White Sox over to the top in the eyes of both publications. The White Sox acquired top-100 prospects Eloy Jimenez, Blake Rutherford and Dylan Cease and eight other minor leaguers in those deals. Prior to July, the White Sox added seven prospects to their system in deals for Chris Sale and Adam Eaton. It’s quite the turnaround for a system that was generally thought to be in the lower-third of baseball only nine months ago.
“It’s been an exciting time around here,” general manager Rick Hahn said last month. “In terms of what we’ve been able to do since December, last draft or wherever you want to draw that line, we’re pleased. But at the same time, we know we have more work to do.”
Hahn has done the bulk of his work since May, dispelling any notions the White Sox hadn’t fully committed to the rebuild.
First, he signed international free agent Luis Robert. Then he continued a massive overhaul of the roster with a series of trades that has gutted the roster. Critics who believed the team only traded Eaton and Sale last winter to rid themselves of malcontents have been silenced as Hahn dumped seven helpful players in July in exchange for 11 minor leaguers and one veteran (Tyler Clippard). The team’s choice to dump nine of its best players since last offseason has also heavily increased its odds of landing a high pick in the 2018 amateur draft.
While not everyone is on board with the plan to tear down and start over again, a majority of fans have expressed excitement that the club has defined its direction. Hahn said last month he appreciates the love from the fans but it wouldn’t prevent him from making what would be seen as an unpopular move as long as the White Sox think it can help them out.
“It has been very positive,” Hahn said. “There’s a good feel in the front office, throughout various departments, and a good feeling throughout the fan base, at least from what I’ve heard from the people who reached out to me through the emails and calls I’ve gotten.
“Regardless of the risk we might lose some of that good feeling as that process continues, we are going to remain focused on what we feel is best for the long-term health of the organization. Hopefully those moves continue to resonate with the fan base. If they don’t, hopefully they at least see where we think this thing is headed and why we’re making the moves we are.”